03/31/11-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
That there are health care discrepancies between LGBT Americans and everyone else is something that is not new, nor is the fact that healthcare providers are not really aware of that fact, but a push has been made by Representative Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin to try and rectify that. She recently congratulated the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine for its report “The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding.”
Baldwin, who is openly lesbian, is a member of the House Health Subcommittee, and Co-Chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus. With regards to this, she stated
“For years, in Congressional hearings, briefings, and meetings, I have asked our national health policy officials and medical experts, ‘What do you know about LGBT health?’ Only to hear, ‘I have to get back to you.’ Today, we’ve gotten a well-researched and most welcome response. I am delighted that after years of advocating for more attention to LGBT health disparities, IOM’s report will bring us closer to the goal of promoting good health for all Americans.”
She also said:
“We can’t overcome LGBT health disparities until we know what those disparities are and where they exist. Once we have solid data, the proper responses will follow. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and at the Department of Health and Human Services to implement the recommendations of the IOM report.”
The press release also noted:
In these types of reports, the IOM and the National Institutes of Health typically look at existing medical research and identify gaps in research that need to be filled. In their work to assess the health of LGBT Americans, the IOM report finds that there simply isn’t enough basic research to identify gaps. Its first recommendation, one that Baldwin has long advocated, is to start collecting data on LGBT Americans in order to begin identifying and addressing LGBT health disparities.
Baldwin intends to reintroduce the Ending LGBT Health Disparities Act in order to build upon the report’s recommendations. It should be noted, however, that it is unlikely that the bill will get through the House due to the Republican majority.